CWSO Fall Season Starts August 22

We’re delighted to announce the beginning of the Fall 2022 concert and rehearsal season for the Chicago City-Wide Symphony Orchestra! Join us again for full-group rehearsals starting Monday, August 22, 2022, from 6:45–8:45 pm at the Jefferson Memorial Fieldhouse.

All instruments are welcome and encouraged to join us, but we are especially in need of viola, bassoon, horn, . No auditions are necessary, and all skill levels are welcome!

Currently scheduled fall performances include:

  • Sunday, October 30, 3 pm at Jefferson Memorial Fieldhouse (1:00 pm dress rehearsal)
  • Sunday, December 18, 3 pm at Jefferson Memorial Fieldhouse (1:00 pm dress rehearsal)

Additionally, we also offer a small group session on Wednesdays from 5–7 pm for chamber music, collaborations with pianists, or even solo coaching. These groups will also have opportunities to perform before CWSO concerts as well as in standalone performances.

View our event calendar to see an up-to-date listing of all rehearsal and concert dates.

All members are required to sign up with the Chicago Park District (no cost) to join. Register on the park district website in advance, or come to a rehearsal and we can walk you through it.

If you have questions about the orchestra, how to join/register with the park district, or any other inquiries, don’t hesitate to reach out to Jason.Ellis@chicagoparkdistrict.com or fill out this form

CWSO Welcomes Music Instructor Jason Ellis

Jason Ellis, Chicago Park District Music Instructor

Jason Ellis is thrilled to join the team at Jefferson Park as music instructor and Park liaison for CWSO!  Jason has taught at Interlochen Center for the Arts, Merit School of Music, The Chicago High School for the Arts, as well as his alma mater, The Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.  During his eight years on faculty at ChiArts, he led the string department to four consecutive state championships (ILMEA) and has sent students to conservatories (with generous financial aid), including Juilliard, North Texas, and USC.  

Jason was a cast member and double bassist on the longest-running show in the history of Broadway in Chicago- Million Dollar Quartet; he has played national tours of Broadway shows, including Beautiful, Matilda, and School of Rock. Additional performance highlights include The Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Ravinia Festival, The Kennedy Center, and The Olympic Games. Jason has served as Music Director for The Peninsula Hotel Chicago, TVK Orchestra, Artists Lounge Live, and numerous additional commercial ensembles.

Jason is pursuing an MFA in composition and orchestration from The University of Chichester in England; he has composed music for several feature-length films and has extensive experience as a professional arranger for Musical Theatre.  He is passionate about music education as an agent for social justice and holds certificates in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from The University of Michigan and ESSEC Business School in Paris. Jason and his wife Catherine own a historic greystone three blocks away from Portage Park; they are avid supporters of The Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the city’s vibrant Theatre scene. Catherine is the Director of Operations for Ravinia Brewing Company and would love to pour you a beer, serve you some craft tacos, and tell you all about our cats.  

Jennifer Huang, Associate Conductor

Jennifer Huang

We are pleased to welcome Jennifer Huang as associate conductor for the CWSO! She will be joining us for the June 12, 2022, summer concert.

JENNIFER HUANG is a Taiwanese-American conductor currently serving as Assistant Conductor of the Northwestern University Symphony and Chamber Orchestras in the Bienen School of Music, where she is completing her graduate degree under the guidance of Victor Yampolsky. Her most recent engagements include Guest Director of the Merit School of Music Orchestras, Associate Conductor of the Chicago City-Wide Symphony Orchestra, Resident Conductor of the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Santa Rosa Symphony Aspirante Youth Orchestra, and Assistant Conductor and Chorus Director of West Edge Opera.

While the majority of her work focuses on standard orchestral repertoire, Huang is also an active opera conductor. In the fall of 2019, Huang conducted a workshop of a new opera, Both Eyes Open, by Max Duykers and librettist Philip Gotunda, working alongside tenor John Duykers and members of the Paul Dresher Ensemble. In November of 2021, she served as conductor of the Bienen Fall Opera, completing six performances of Menotti’s The Medium with Northwestern University vocalists and members of the NU Symphony Orchestra. An accomplished violinist, pianist, and vocalist, Huang has performed under the baton of world-class artists such as Riccardo Muti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gustavo Dudamel, and David Robertson. In 2016, she graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a dual degree in Molecular Cell Biology and Music.

Our Next Concert: June 12

We’re so pleased to announce our first concert back in person! The concert will take place on June 12, 2022, at the Jefferson Memorial Fieldhouse.

Attendance is free, but space is limited and standing room will not be available. Register on the Chicago Park District Website.

Concert Program

Orchestral Suite No. 1 from Carmen (arr. Ernest Guiraud)

Georges Bizet (1838 – 1875)

  • I. Prélude                                                   
  • II. Aragonaise
  • III. Intermezzo 
  • IV. Séguedille
  • V. Les Dragons d’Alcala 
  • VI. Final (Les Toréadors) 

Chicago, Grande Valse à l’Américaine

Edmond Dédé (1827 – 1901) 

Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
  • I. Adagio molto – Allegro con brio               
  • II. Andante cantabile con moto
  • III. Menuetto: Allegro molto e vivace
  • IV. Adagio – Allegro molto e vivace 

Roster

Music Director: Michael Pecak
Associate Conductor: Jennifer Huang

VIOLIN

  • Martha Ash, Concertmaster
  • Amy Barker
  • Carly Bartman
  • Sarah Barton
  • Kenneth Chaklos
  • Alicia Chandler
  • Hajar Habbal
  • Meghan Hassett
  • Maren Menefee
  • Julia Morlock
  • Jacob Parker
  • Serina Sota
  • Cordelia Wang
  • Alysee Wayment

VIOLA

  • Ashley Brown
  • Chelsea Dvorchak
  • Grace Kachan
  • Shreyas Mohan

CELLO

  • Marnie Goodfriend
  • Tiago Silva
  • Howard Zhang

STRING BASS

  • Steve Graff
  • Kevin Doyle

HARP

Jennifer Entwhistle

TRUMPET

  • Clentice Smith
  • Phil Bullimore

FLUTE

  • Kristen Gorski
  • Lori Willer
  • Shannon Yap
  • Debra Ziegler

OBOE

  • Mary-Beth Chong
  • Ethan Derda

BASSOON

Robin Herber

CLARINET

  • Heather Sears
  • TJ Sullivan
  • Emily Quinlan

FRENCH HORN

  • Lee Haas
  • Jessica Zaluka

TROMBONE

  • Niko Kyriacou
  • Michael Pugh

TUBA

Jarrod Routh

PERCUSSION

  • Felix Desposorio
  • Jeff Evans
  • Stephan Metzger
  • Ian Orr

Interested in Joining the CWSO?

The CWSO is open to any musicians who want to play—no auditions needed! Learn more about joining and come to the Jefferson Memorial Fieldhouse on Monday evenings to join us at rehearsal.

Meet the Orchestra: Flutes

We’ve got four very talented flautists.  Far-left is Shannon, a law student who plays both flute and the Chinese Harp, the Konghou. Next to her at middle-left is Deb, who has started with the Orchestra three times in the past few years, each time to be interrupted by life and a big pandemic pause. We’re so happy she’s playing with us—third time’s a charm, right?  Middle right is Lori, who has been looking for a group to play with for a while.  Lori is especially suited for our current repertoire, the Carmen Suite. She is a Spanish teacher by day, but she can also dance Flamenco and play castanets. To the far right is Kristen, an elementary music teacher. Kristen not only plays flute but is self-taught in 9 other instruments—saxophone, trumpet, clarinet, piano, oboe, French horn, trombone, tuba, and snare drum. Say hello to one of these super friendly and talented folks at rehearsal next week! 

Interested in Joining?

The CWSO is open to any musicians who want to play—no auditions needed! Learn more about joining and come to the Jefferson Memorial Fieldhouse on Monday evenings to join us at rehearsal.

Meet the Orchestra: Second Violins

This week it’s the sometimes overlooked but oh so important second violins. First stand left is Meghan, who is the President of our orchestra, and is thrilled to be leading such a robust section of second violins. She started playing when she was 5 and through college, but then her focus shifted to singing in her 20s. She has been with the orchestra for several years when she decided to pick up her instrument again. First stand right is Maren, who says she has an electric violin at home. Second stand left is Hajar, who played in her first orchestra in college. Next to Hajar, at second stand right is Serina, who played violin until the end of college, and after a 17-year break has just picked up her instrument again to join our orchestra. She missed music and is happy to be playing again. Third stand left is Alicia, who joined the orchestra in 2019. Alicia says she is a pharmaceutical chemist by day and violinist by night. Third stand right is Georgina. Georgina has two kids and speaks Korean, as she has lived abroad, and her husband is Korean. (She is in good company, as one of our cellists is raising a tri-lingual child) Sarah is hiding behind her stand in this picture in the back left, but has a very fun fact: she has performed in Carnegie Hall with her high school orchestra!

If you have a little downtime before rehearsal begins next week, say hello to one of our wonderful second violins.

Interested in Joining?

The CWSO is open to any musicians who want to play—no auditions needed! Learn more about joining and come to the Jefferson Memorial Fieldhouse on Monday evenings to join us at rehearsal.

Meet the Orchestra: Trumpets

Let’s meet the trumpets this week. Phil, left, was in his high school marching band and says he’s very happy to pick up his instrument after a long hiatus to make music again. He’s also about to start raising chickens in his backyard. Clentice, right, has been with the orchestra for 13 years.  He also has a marching band background at Purdue University. In fact, he still plays with the Purdue Alumni marching band when they meet up every two years. 

Interested in Joining?

The CWSO is open to any musicians who want to play—no auditions needed! Learn more about joining and come to the Jefferson Memorial Fieldhouse on Monday evenings to join us at rehearsal.

Meet the Orchestra: Trombones

Meet the Orchestra! This week it’s dem bones, dem bones, dem Trombones. Michael (left) says he used to play trombone in a ska band. Niko Kyriacou (middle) has played in the Michigan Marching Band. Kris Kay (right) taught music and band for 17 years. They are a fun bunch. Say hello to Michael, Niko, and Kris next Monday at rehearsal!

Interested in Joining?

The CWSO is open to any musicians who want to play—no auditions needed! Learn more about joining and come to the Jefferson Memorial Fieldhouse on Monday evenings to join us at rehearsal.

Meet the Orchestra: Oboes

We are so excited to see so many old faces we haven’t seen since pre-pandemic times, and lots of wonderful new faces too. This week let’s meet the Oboes. Ethan Dylan Derda has been with the orchestra for many years and is currently working on a degree in oboe performance. He organizes a reed-ing circle, where you can learn how to make your own reeds.  Mary Beth dusted off her oboe for the first time since she graduated college to join the orchestra this past month and is very happy to be making music again. She says she is playing on her 6th-grade oboe, and it still works great.

Say hello to Ethan and Mary Beth next Monday at rehearsal!

Interested in Joining?

The CWSO is open to any musicians who want to play—no auditions needed! Learn more about joining and come to the Jefferson Memorial Fieldhouse on Monday evenings to join us at rehearsal.

Rehearsals are back on!

We’re excited to announce that the Chicago City-Wide Orchestra is resuming rehearsals, effective January 2022. Rehearsals take place on Monday evenings in the Jefferson Memorial Fieldhouse, just off the Jefferson Park Blue Line station.

Participants should plan to attend from 6:45-8:45 pm, with rehearsal beginning promptly at 7 pm. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, proof of vaccination is required for all players. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Board of Directors at citywidesymphony@gmail.com.

To participate, please sign up with the Chicago Park District and bring your proof of vaccination to the next rehearsal you attend to record it with Park District staff.

Thinking about joining us for the first time?

We’re open to musicians of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels, we do not require auditions, and we encourage anyone who wants to play music to join us as you are and as you’re able. If you’d like to get more information about the orchestra, rehearsals, or your section, don’t hesitate to contact us.